The Bible does not teach us that the Table must be protected from unfaithful people. Rather, the Bible teaches us that unfaithful people must be protected from the Table.
This Table is a winnowing fan, a fan that separates the wheat from the chaff. This Table deals with us as we come to it. To think that sinners could successfully defile the Table is to think that Uzzah could successfully manhandle the Ark of the covenant. To think that this Table needs protection is to think that the altar needed protection from Nadab and Abihu—but it was the other way around. Nadab and Abihu needed protection from the altar, and the presence of the Lord there.
We in our folly think that the holiness of God needs to be put under glass. We think that it is a delicate flower. We think that our grimy hands pose a threat. But the only threat posed is to our grimy hands, and what they are threatened with is cleansing.
But here is the next thing, baffling to us. Once we learn that the Table of the Lord needs no protection from us, we shrink back. But this is also wrong-headed. We are told to approach, consistently, regularly, confidently, approaching the throne of grace with boldness. In order to be brought to this conviction, we need the gift of faith. We may not come with an insouciant swagger, but neither may we hesitate out of false and introspective piety.
At this Table God is dealing with our cowardice and timidity. We are not given a spirit of timidity. And how is He dealing with our cowardice? He is doing it by teaching us to fear—work out our salvation, we are told, with fear and trembling. There is a fear—fear of the Lord—that drives out every fear. What is the nature of that fear? Come and taste. Come and drink, and you will see.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.
This is pretty awesome.
What’s often missing here in liberal-ville is fear of the Lord. The problem being, it is in His authority where you also discover His power. No fear of the Lord means no trust in His power to move mountains, to transform lives, or to protect you. Our own issues around fear tend to manifest themselves in anxiety and need for control, so ironically you wind up with this very shamed based system, afraid of everything from gluten to peanuts to plastic bags.
It’s counter-intuitive, but the cure for fear is more fear…. of the right kind.
I agree with you about irrational fears, but when you have seen a child die from a peanut allergy, you do tend to take it pretty seriously. I’m not so sure about gluten, though. I think it causes discomfort but not death.
Jilly, the problem being, everything causes death eventually. Only He causes life and life abundant. When we lose our fear of the Lord we often become fear based and obsessed about every little thing. Our unity and our focus is no longer in Christ, it is now on every possible thing that is out to get us. People tend to get stuck that way, they’re dealing with the same issue they’ve been dealing with for the past 30 years or so. Pretty soon our whole identity becomes our ailment and there is no growth and no change. We stop believing… Read more »
Well, I agree overall, but God doesn’t appear to cure peanut allergies, and it is a horrifying death for a helpless child. We shouldn’t obsess, but we should take reasonable precautions just the same. Of course, it is more important to fear the Lord, and no Christian should live in dread of imminent death. But, speaking as one with an incredibly serious allergy, people would think I was pretty dumb if I said bring on the turkey sandwich! And people can deal with allergies carefully without letting them rule their entire lives. I don’t mention mine at dinner parties. But… Read more »
Jilly,you make me want to sacrifice baby goats and feed peanut butter to small children. Pray for me, will you?
Of course! But why do I provoke this reaction? And how do you live comfortably as a tiny red island in an ocean of blue state voters? My sister in Spokane says she is surrounded by conservatives, so the mountains must make a huge difference! I wondered why, out of all the many people I know in this vast city, only two have ever told me they voted for Trump (one is my ex-husband’s girlfriend and the other is my law enforcement cousin), so I looked up my precinct map. Two out of 950 mail-in ballots went for Trump. I… Read more »
I don’t live comfortably. I assure you, I am quite insane. The mountains make so much difference, we often speak of just dividing up the state and seceding. I often drive across them just for a vacation, for peace of mind, for “normal” people. I am smack dab in the middle of the darkest blue dot in the entire country BUT, we did have over a thousand Trump votes, so that really is quite remarkable.
That is indeed. When you take your mental health break east of the Cascades, you should probably avoid my sister. Her politics are pretty similar to mine, and she is a lot more outspoken. Furthermore, she is incredibly good and saintly. She was nominated for a national teaching award and she turned it down because she believes in cooperation, not competition. I, on the other hand, would have been up on the stage saying Look at me!
I meant to ask you: did Stein draw a lot of the environmental vote away from Clinton? I was also reflecting that your part of Washington is undoubtedly more relentlessly PC than most parts of Los Angeles. Immigrants from all over the world who are struggling to reach their dreams don’t tend to look down on white moms who feed their kids Lunchables (as I did, year after year, it being infinitely preferable to the limp chicken nuggets the school district provided). I think you would have to go to Berkeley to find something comparable to Seattle. And everyone knows… Read more »
I don’t think Stein did very well here. It was all about Bernie.
Berkeley is special. We have a lot of refugees from Berkeley here, but they haven’t changed at all, they’ve just fled the mess they made in their own area and have now inflicted themselves on us.
My friends liked Bernie, but they liked their trust funds even more. They voted for Stein or held their noses and voted for Clinton. I have no idea what I would have done if I could have voted. The only candidate I personally liked was Bernie, but I wouldn’t hand him the presidency. And I don’t even have a trust fund. Berkeleyites never escape to southern California. Too glossy, too plastic, too superficial. This is a bit ridiculous considering that the majority of the population are Latin American, black, Armenian, and Iranian. Southern Californians escape to northern Idaho, where they… Read more »
Just want to mention since you weren’t sure if gluten caused death – in celiac disesase gluten does cause death long-term, not just discomfort. It’s different than peanut allergies because you don’t immediately swell up and die, but it does damage which eventually leads to death. I only wanted to put this out there because a lot of people are confused about celiac disease – and many people complain of gluten intolerance which is not the same things at all! (People with gluten intolerance only can probably eat gluten and just suffer discomfort). Thanks!
Hi Kira, thank you for explaining!
And even short-term, it’s not death, but it’s not just tummy rumbles. It can be very sick and unable to care for your family for days. Not exactly compatible with weekly communion.
If it is like full blown lactose intolerance, it is very unpleasant indeed. All my Ashkenazi relatives have it, and based on the genetic study, we were told we could never let our daughter have cow’s milk. It was tough on her at birthday parties, and one or two times she was persuaded by a moronic hostess to try a little bit. The upshot was going to the ER for fluid replacement after that much gastric distress It’s hard to teach children with food issues the fine line between coddling yourself and taking care of yourself. We taught ours not… Read more »
Yes, I think it’s about like that — maybe not the violently ill with fluid replacement part, but the being too miserably sick to function part. I have a friend who is celiac who spent the better part of a week in serious pain because of a salad that had had the croutons removed. The traces of the croutons in what he ate were quite enough to set off a pretty bad episode.
Okay, I now know what hell is. Hell is being stuck in a perpetual loop where the bread is Christ is reduced to nothing more than a discussion about the importance of gluten intolerance and peanut allergies.
It can be a dull discussion, that’s for sure. But if you are lucky enough not have loved ones with food allergies or suffer them yourself, just be glad! At least peanut butter isn’t served at holy communion.
Was the flour locally sourced?
“We are told to approach, consistently, regularly, confidently, approaching the throne of grace with boldness. ”
Sorry Lord, no can do. Seems we are plagued with nothing but gluten intolerance and peanut allergies. Sure hope your communion wafers are free trade, vegan, and organic, and that your wine has been hand massaged by the farmer’s virgin daughters.
Hi MeMe, you have yourself some attitude here! Is it that you disbelieve in allergies (all or some?) or is it that you think people who have allergies should just suck it up? (By the way, I would personally not touch a communion host that wasn’t vegan–flour and water are the only permitted ingredients!)